If you're leaning towards Mexican, swing by Don Pancho's Cantina for a mellow meal.
Drinks here are readily available, so you can enjoy a glass of red or try something new.
Little ones are just as welcome as their parents at this restaurant.
Stay in the loop (and online!) by tapping into Don Pancho's Cantina's free wifi hotspot.
At Don Pancho's Cantina, your large or small group can be seated quickly and comfortably.
Between the music and the crowds, be prepared for a lot of noise at this restaurant.
No need for a wardrobe change when you hit Don Pancho's Cantina — it's strictly casual.
If dining out is not on the agenda, this restaurant offers delivery and pickup, too.
Impress the diners at your next gathering by calling in Don Pancho's Cantina for catering.
Parking is available at an adjacent lot.
Store your bike at one of the many racks outside of Don Pancho's Cantina.
Short on cash? No problem. Don Pancho's Cantina happily accepts all major credit cards.
If you're looking for a delicious taco or burrito, you'd definitely be wise to head to Don Pancho's Cantina.
So indulge in a tasty and authentic Mexican dish from Don Pancho's Cantina and savor each and every flavorful bite.
Three Guys Italian Restaurant knows how to perfect pasta, and foodies rave about its cream-of-the-crop Italian eats.
The menu at Three Guys Italian Restaurant is loaded with gluten-free and low-fat options.
Find time to peruse the wine list here — this restaurant offers a variety of drink options.
Three Guys Italian Restaurant caters to all party sizes, both large and small.
Warm weather brings out Three Guys Italian Restaurant's highly coveted patio seating.
If you're in a hurry, place an order for pickup instead.
Through their catering service, Three Guys Italian Restaurant can also set out a delicious spread for your next party.
Parking is available at an adjacent lot.
Commute by bike to Three Guys Italian Restaurant and find easy bike parking.
Fancy snacks do come at a higher price, but wow are they delicious.
Convenience is essential at Three Guys Italian Restaurant, and food is served from morning until night.
High-quality Italian food awaits you at Three Guys Italian Restaurant!
Next time you're in the mood for authentic Italian cooking, remember to try the delicious fare at Three Guys Italian Restaurant.
Sit down with a simple sandwich or salad — Fred's Restaurant caters to those craving an all-American meal.
Pair your entree with a glass of wine or draft beer — this restaurant has a fully-stocked bar to complement your meal.
Fred's Restaurant can provide comfortable seating options for parties of any size.
Be sure to check out Fred's Restaurant's outdoor seating when the climate is right.
You can also serve food from Fred's Restaurant at your next party — the restaurant offers catering.
Street and lot parking is simple near Fred's Restaurant.
Typical diners should plan to spend about $30 per person on Fred's Restaurant's moderately priced fare.
Easily charge your payment using one of many major credit card options.
Chow down on breakfast, lunch, or dinner fare at Fred's Restaurant — they're open for all three meals.
Isn't it time you indulged in the old classics of American food? Stop by Fred's Restaurant to have a bite of deliciousness.
Make your way over to the highly-rated Fred's Restaurant and taste your way through some great American dishes.
Whether you prefer sausage, 'roni, or all-around veggie, Pizza Hut's easy-to-please pizza has fans dishing out top-notch ratings.
If you're avoiding fat or gluten, you can still eat great at Pizza Hut, which offers a number of low-fat and gluten-free choices.
It's time to gather up the party people. Serve them great food from Pizza Hut.
This pizzeria will bring your food right to your doorstep if you prefer to make it a night in, or swing by the pizzeria yourself to carry out your meal.
We don't expect you to keep driving around the block to find metered parking. We've got some space for you here.
Pizza Hut offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so stop by whenever is most convenient for you.
When melted cheese and quality crust is all you can think about, it may be time for a hot slice or two. Experience pizza at its best when you order a pie from top-rated Pizza Hut.
A tasty pizza form Pizza Hut is perfect for any of your upcoming casual gatherings.
Come for a tasty meal at Applebee's that the whole family will love.
Quit fat and gluten at Applebee's, where low-fat fare and G-free offerings are the norm.
Don't go thirsty during dinner! This restaurant also offers a splendid drink list featuring wine, beer, and more.
Round up your coworkers and head to Applebee's for happy hour.
Seating is readily available at Applebee's for those with large parties.
Throw on your favorite T-shirt and head out the door — dining at Applebee's is all about comfort.
Short on time? Don't wait for a driver — pick it up yourself.
For drivers, a nearby lot is available for use.
A mid-priced establishment, Applebee's offers meals that typically cost about $30 or less.
At Applebee's, you have the option of paying by major credit card.
When American food comes to mind, Applebee's should be your first choice.
Located in Winton, Riverside Crab Shack is a hugely-popular restaurant that features delicious seafood. An unforgettable dining experience set in a relaxed vibe. It's an ideal choice for guests looking for terrific food.
There really is something for everyone, with gluten-free options, as well as low-fat and vegetarian items on the robust menu. Plus, if you're looking for the perfect spot for a get-together between family or friends, it's been reviewed as a great local option for both big groups and families with kids. If you're in a hurry, you can always take advantage of the convenient take-out menu.
A reputable option for dinner, you won't walk away from Riverside Crab Shack disappointed. Don't worry about trying to find a spot on the street, as visitors to the restaurant do have access to a private parking lot nearby.
Siu mai: small pork dumplings. Each has a thin wrapper that needs to be delicately pleated by hand. Easily, they’re one of the most labor-intensive items at Phoenix Restaurant in Chicago, where each weekend this Chinese restaurant serves 80 different varieties of classic dim sum snacks.
This little fact about the siu mai is one of many surprising stories I learn from Eddy, the chef at Phoenix, where he also handles a million other tasks to keep the restaurant running smoothly. When I first came in, he was waving at a group of regulars while on the phone haggling with a seafood vendor.
“What we are serving in this restaurant is what we are eating in Hong Kong. ... It’s very typical,” Eddy says.
In 1996, Phoenix was one of the first restaurants to introduce dim sum to Chicago. Its customer base has grown over the years, and today, even with other dim sum restaurants up and down the block, you’ll find long lines winding out the door on any given Sunday.
Sound intimidating? It doesn't have to be.
Here's our guide to dim-sum dining, with a few tips from Eddy.
On the weekend: order dim sum off a cart
On weekends and special holidays, the wait staff winds traditional dim sum carts around tables, lifting lids off stacked steamer baskets to reveal the enticing contents. Should you see something you like, they leave the basket on your table and put a checkmark on your bill (it’s tallied at the end).
Phoenix is one of the only dim-sum restaurants in Chicago that still uses these carts. When I ask Eddy why they keep them, he says “tradition.” Not only to impress the tourists who come in, but also to let Chinese-American customers share this bit of culture with their kids.
Hot tip: if you want to experience the pushcarts without the crowds, head over on a Saturday, which tends to be less busy than Sundays, Eddy says.
On a weekday: order dim sum off the menu
Cartless weekdays offer a quiet, more peaceful atmosphere for ordering off the paper menu, which you can find near the hostess stand. Don't be intimidated—the menu has pictures; it has numbers; it has names written in both Chinese and English. And best of all, you need only point to what you want to have it brought out from the kitchen.
So what should you get?
“Everyone has their favorites,” Eddy says. The most popular dishes with Westerners are ha gao (shrimp dumplings) and siu mai (pork dumplings mentioned above). Kids gravitate toward the crunchy, easy-to-grip shrimp rolls and sweeter fare, from mango pudding (pictured above) to custard rolls.
Foreign travelers, especially those from Latin America, and adventurous eaters alike seem to love the chicken feet (pictured at bottom-right of top photo), a more exotic dish consisting of skin and tendons. While all these dishes are traditional, the chefs can tweak the recipes to accommodate for special diets or food allergies.
When diners are new to dim sum, Eddy encourages them to experiment. He’ll point out a few of the more popular dishes; if there’s something they don’t end up liking, it can easily be swapped out for something else. This way, by the second or third visit, diners will have a better idea of what they like.
And don't forget the tea
At dim sum, the tea is equally important to the food. Phoenix serves three different types: green tea, white tea, and brown tea. “Each one has its own usage,” Eddy says. While we talk, we drink jasmine tea, which is good for getting rid of toxins.
You can show your dim sum know-how by obeying proper tea etiquette. When your teapot is out of water, prop the lid off to the side. This signals to the wait staff that you need more hot water.
Eddy pours more tea and tells me to tap my fingers lightly against the table when the cup is nearly full. “When your friend or host fills your tea, this means ‘thank you’,” he says. “It’s part of the custom.”
Photos by Andrew Nawrocki, Groupon
I had no idea what to expect upon arriving at Elizabeth, the Michelin Star winner from Chef Iliana Regan. But an unmarked, unremarkable storefront between a tire shop and a sporting-goods store certainly wasn’t it. With few exceptions (Schwa, most notably), Chicago’s upper-echelon restaurants boast exteriors that match their illustrious River North and Restaurant Row addresses.
But as it turns out, Regan has no taste for that sort of superficial flash. She dons no chef’s whites. She displays no awards. She does not raise her voice to the Gordon Ramsay–level roar or even the Rachael Ray-ish rollick that TV cameras eat up.
Instead, this northwest Indiana native quietly built her reputation as someone who hunts for frogs and spears them herself. Someone who has suffered tick bites and poison-ivy rashes foraging for wild flora. Someone who has penned an essay on intensity for Lucky Peach and once themed an Elizabeth tasting menu after those violent and visceral A Song of Ice and Fire novels.
So yeah, I was kinda terrified to eat her food.
I’d never done a tasting menu before. And I wouldn’t necessarily classify myself as a picky eater, but I’m not a particularly adventurous one either, particularly when it comes to meat. (I can barely look at plated octopus without shivering.) I’d heard that Regan once served edible ants. Which are, like, bugs.
My nerves were calmed upon walking into Elizabeth, though. Austere yet charming, the whitewashed space was accented by light fixtures made from bare tree branches; dining chairs draped with faux-fur slipcovers; a chef’s counter armed with Elder Scrolls and Vikings Funko Pop! dolls. It was all in support of the season’s menu theme: vikings.
There were two options: land or sea. Or, as the first in a delightful succession of servers explained it, “Imagine a viking ship has reached the shore. One group goes on land to look for food, the other into the sea.” My friend Erin and I opted to order one of each to share and, despite my trepidation of certain meats, placed no restrictions on what we would eat. (You can arrange for some allergies and dietary needs in advance.) We wanted to go all in.
After the amuse-bouche—a surprisingly complex roasted whey carrot dressed with goat’s-milk cheese and edible flowers—came our first courses. The land dish was … a bowl of rocks. The server assured me the top “rock” was actually a baked potato coated in edible clay. But it was very convincing as a rock, so I bit in with trepidation. As Erin ate the rest, dipping it into the cheese and butter puddings it was served with, I forked into her langoustine with lingonberries. (Pro tip: don’t try to tear off the claw without looking. You will stab your finger on a spine.) So far, so very good.
As the servers continued to weave their culinary narrative, I realized there was an unmentioned character in their tale—Elizabeth itself. The restaurant is small, seating about 16 or so, and the kitchen is wide open. It was impossible not to get caught up in what was happening back there, particularly when sous chefs were wielding brûlée torches and “plating” on gorgeous pieces of handmade pottery. And the line between front and back of house was practically nonexistent. One moment, you’d see someone in the kitchen stirring and slicing; the next they’d be presenting your next course or clearing your table. (Chef Regan included.)
This created an unexpected intimacy, one that removed any hesitation when asking about a particular dish. It’s clear the teammates take a deep yet quiet pride in their collective work. They spoke warmly about where ingredients came from, excitedly about the preparation techniques used. They always used “we” or “our,” never “me” or “Chef Regan.” (Again, Chef Regan included.)
Over the next few courses, there were so many charms. An herb-rolled, soft-boiled quail egg served in an actual nest; impossibly chewy seaweed bread darkened by squid ink; a cauliflower-mushroom soup that Erin about died over. I was particularly fond of a course called Barnyard: headcheese dusted with beet powder, paired with a collage of root vegetables and flavored puddings reminiscent of something out of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing.
And that’s the thing. Never in my life would I have thought that I’d be fond of headcheese. I would have probably never eaten it if it weren’t for this meal. But it was fun to break out of my culinary comfort zone.
The other surprising thing? How full we were, considering it was a tasting menu. By the time we were served the entree courses—rare lamb medallions wrapped in swiss chard and pickled fish in a sauce of its own bones—we were taking deep breaths between bites. I’m pretty sure they were the only two plates we didn’t completely clean.
We managed to buck up for our “one-and-a-half” dessert courses, as the server put it. (The “half” was a palate-cleansing sorbet.) Our favorite was Under the Sea, a spongy coral-seaweed cake so realistic looking it prompted me to ask the server just how much of it we could eat. “All of it,” she said. We complied.
Maybe, as a writer, I’m just a sucker for a good story. But I was enchanted by Elizabeth, both in backstory and in not knowing what was coming next throughout the culinary adventure. And while I probably won’t be buying headcheese any time soon, I’m excited to see what Chef Regan has up her non-chef’s-whites sleeves next season.
Shop Chef Iliana Regan's tasting-menu experience at Elizabeth Restaurant:
Watch her explain her approach to fine dining:
As useful as WD40 and much more edible, coconut oil is a powerhouse. In fact, just one jar of the stuff can replace several household staples, from kitchen ingredients to baby wipes. Here’s how to substitute it for 16 total items in 3 rooms of the home:
1. Coffee: Coconut oil is a reputed energy booster. Swallowing a spoonful or two in the afternoon can be a healthful alternative to a cuppa.2. Coffee creamer: Emulsified and poured into coffee, it’s much tastier than (and probably just as nutritious as) that bulletproof stuff.3. Butter or oil (when sautéing): Coconut oil’s high smoke point makes it great for cooking on the stovetop, especially at high heat. Try swapping it in when making stir-fries, scrambled eggs, or pancakes, especially if you like a very mild coconut flavor.4. Oil (when baking): The oil imparts a delicious je ne sais quoi to baked goods—even boxed ones. Use it to give from-the-box brownies an upgrade, and you’ll dream about them for days.5. Condiments: Drop it into quinoa or oatmeal for added nutrients and healthy fats. You can also put it on top of sweet potatoes instead of butter!
6. Moisturizer: It works on your body and your face. It’s naturally SPF 4, so it offers a bit of protection from UV rays, too.7. Leave-in conditioner and anti-static agent: Rub a small amount between your hands and smooth them over your hair to control flyaways.8. Lip balm: It soothes sore, chapped lips, and other skin irritations.9. Eye-makeup remover: Rub it between your fingers until it liquefies, smear it on your lids, and wipe it off with a cotton pad.10. Face wash: Add a little water and rub it in your hands until it foams.11. Hand and foot cream: Massage it into cracked knuckles, or slather it onto your soles and stick them into socks for an overnight soak.12. Shaving cream: It’ll give you a smooth shave, plus additional moisture for your skin.
13. Ouchie ointment: Dab it on cuts and scrapes, which will benefit from its antimicrobial properties.14. Anti-itch cream: Coconut oil reduces itching from bug bites, and helps to calm sunburn, eczema, and cradle cap.15. Diaper cream: A layer on baby’s bottom guards against (and soothes) diaper rash flare-ups.16. Baby wipes: Simply mix it with hot water and pour it over a stack of paper towels that you’ve cut in half. Keep the towels in an airtight container so they stay moist.
Check out more coconut-oil coverage:
Oil Pulling Whitens Your Teeth and (Maybe) Makes You Invincible
The Five Best Uses for Coconut Oil You’ve Never Heard Of